Nebraska is back at Memorial Stadium this week after being on the road the last two weeks. The Huskers are coming off a win on the road against Purdue, 37-27. The 2-4 Huskers are taking on the 2-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers on a brisk Lincoln afternoon. Deputy editor Erin Sorensen and staff writer Derek Peterson are in attendance for Hail Varsity.
Here are some observations from warmups:
>> Starting punter Will Przystup was not out with the team for early warmups. Tyler Crawford or Grant Detlefsen were both out warming up early and it’s expected that Crawford will make his first career start for the Huskers on Saturday.
Crawford is Nebraska’s third option at punter, behind freshman Daniel Cerni and Przystup. Cerni, the Huskers’ only specialist on scholarship, was injured prior to the season.
It also appears that Detlefsen will be Nebraska’s holder with Przystup out.
>> Iowa Western transfer placekicker Chase Contreraz is in uniform for the first time. Probably don’t need to make too much of it though, as senior Connor Culp is also in uniform for Nebraska.
>>Minnesota will be without players against Nebraska, too, as Coach PJ Fleck said earlier in the week.
“We are going to have players unavailable because of the COVID 21-day protocol. More than 20-plus players that are not available,” Fleck said. “Just from that. Not including injuries or anything like that.”
“There’s that 21-day protocol that still keeps kids out for that long. That’s why we’re in that position that we’re in. But definitely north of 20 players will be missing just from COVID, and then you add in the injuries. This is what it is.”
It’s not yet fully clear who those players are, but running back Mohamed Ibrahim is in uniform for Minnesota.
Update (10:30 a.m. CT): The Gophers will be without 33 players against Nebraska, according to the Pioneer Press’ Andy Greder. The big guns on offense are all in Lincoln and warming up, though. Quarterback Tanner Morgan, running back Mohamid Ibrahim, and wideout Chris Autman-Bell. On defense, the team’s leading tackler, safety Tyler Nubin, and rush end, Boye Mafe, are also on hand.
It appears as though the only starters Minnesota will be without are center John Michael Schmitz and redshirt junior left guard Axel Ruschmeyer. During warmups, Morgan was taking center snaps from redshirt sophomore Nathan Boe. Before this season, Boe had only played in two games with no starts. Keep an eye on that. At left guard, it appears Minnesota will slide starting right tackle Blaise Andries to the LG spot and start true freshman Aireonte Ersey at right tackle.
They’ll also be without three tight ends: Ko Kieft (redshirt senior, two catches for 29 yards), Bryce Witham (redshirt senior, two catches, 10 yards), and Jake Paulson (redshirt junior, one catch, 19 yards).